President Trump wants us to talk about the stock market:
Dow hit a new intraday all-time high! I wonder whether or not the Fake News Media will so report?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
So let’s do that. First of all, he's right. The Dow Jones industrial average hit an all-time high at the close of trading on Monday (and the markets were closed Tuesday in observance of the Fourth). The index is up roughly 18 percent since Trump’s election, an event that unleashed a market rally on expectations of tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending. Here's what the Dow's growth has looked like since Trump won:
But it's also true that the market has plotted a fairly steady climb since the financial crisis. Zooming out, here's the Dow's performance over the last ten years:
Viewed from that vantage, the Trump rally is hard to distinguish from the upward slope launched under the previous administration. And that same dynamic applies to the broader economy. As Trump touts top-line numbers suggesting that the boom he promised as a candidate is underway, actual growth remains sluggish. As my colleagues Damian Paletta and Ana Swanson write, potentially worrying signs are gathering: U.S. factory output has dipped twice in the last three months; new home construction has fallen to an eight-month low; and job and wage growth continue to underwhelm with a number of companies announcing layoffs in recent weeks.
Overall, Damian and Ana write, "the economy Trump is overseeing as president looks a lot like the one he lambasted as a candidate: a slow, largely steady grind that has chipped away at the damage done by the 2008-2009 recession but that has been insufficient to usher in a new era of prosperity."
Trump's economic advisers effectively are trying to split the difference between the president's pronouncements and the observable reality. White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, for example, points to the lower unemployment rate, among other positive indicators, while acknowledging "there is more work to do, including improving wage growth for hard-working Americans." And they've scaled back his pledge of 4 percent economic growth to 3 percent — and warned it will take years to achieve.
Meanwhile, two considerations should give Trump pause as he continues to trumpet the stock market’s success. For one, stock ownership isn't uniform. Gallup surveys show that among younger people, those with lower incomes and nonwhite Americans, fewer than half own stock. The other, of course, is that what goes up can also come down. Investors are beginning to worry that with sky-high valuations, central bank tightening, and no appreciable progress on Trump's economic agenda, a major correction lurks.
Then again, a new president with an approval rating so deeply under water will likely celebrate good news wherever he can find it.
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— The Fed releases the minutes of its June meeting today, and investors will be looking for clues about when they'll start to reduce their $4.5 trillion portfolio.
— Republican lawmakers spent the Fourth getting earfuls from constituents about their push to gut Obamacare.
— Trump faces a major foreign policy test from the latest North Korean missile launch. The rocket test marked a major milestone for the country's weapons program — and a reminder that Trump's tough talk has yet to yield results addressing the threat the nation poses. The issue promises to figure centrally when Trump meets with Asian leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin at a G-20 summit this week. Plus, his first encounter with Putin since taking office carries another host of headaches, considering the ongoing probe of his team's alleged ties to Russian operatives.
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced a budget deal for the state after a three-day shutdown and a scandal involving his use of a closed public beach, Robert Costa reports. But his political epitaph was etched by the long-range lens that captured the one-time Republican rising star sunning with his family:
— Nearly one in four Americans earn money from some sort of side job via a digital platform. That's according to a Pew Research Center look into how the gig economy is reshaping how Americans cobble together their income.
The new data shows a majority of workers make less than $500 a month with these services, The Post’s Abha Bhattarai reports.
— Meanwhile, women who work in the White House might need to drive for Uber to take home what their male counterparts do. They earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male colleagues, according to a new report from CNN. Men in the White House make an average of $104,000, compared with $83,000 for women.
Only six of the 22 employees that make the highest salary for permanent employees ($179,700) are women. (CNN notes that the gap is mostly a result of women being in lower-ranking jobs.)
- The American Enterprise Institute is holding an event on housing finance reform with Federal Reserve Governor Jay Powell on Thursday.
- The Center for Strategic & International Studies will hold an event on “Export Financing in an Increasingly Competitive World” with remarks by acting chairman and president of the Ex-Im Bank Charles J. Hall on Thursday.
- Brookings Institution will host an event on manufacturing in the Trump administration on July 13.
Tesla's first mass-market car poised for debut:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) controversial beach trip, explained:
Annotating the White House spin on health care: